As we sit in that frustrating in-between space, trying to wash off the awful stench of Sunday night's debacle and to get psyched for the upcoming game versus a less-than-inspiring Seattle team, I offer you the ideal antidote to the doldrums, a panacea of sorts, a delicious and restorative medicament. Yes, BTBers, the cure for all that ails you is a healthy dose of this week's top FanPosts.
This week, I gravitated to a group of writers who offered lucid analysis on the Eagles contest. These fine fellows generated theses that clustered around two lines of thought: 1) its crucial to remember that there was another team on the field on Sunday, and they influenced the outcome, too (oh, and by the way, they are pretty darn good); 2) the loss, unlike the eerily similar Sunday-before-Halloween trouncing in Green Bay last year, wasn't about "want-to" or the lack thereof; rather, much of what transpired had to do with the Eagles--you know, that other team on the field--developing a dynamic gameplan.
In my opinion, these takes are important, for no better reason than they offer us a forum for understanding our favorite team outside of the hypefest-du-jour that we tend to be fed by the major sports media outlets. By modeling levelheadedness, these FanPosts allow us to "step back from the ledge," so to speak. In fact, this is precisely the title given to our first FanPost honoree, a worthy effort penned by BTB fave Foyesboys. In it, Foyes looks at the game not as a microcosm, but as part of a larger macrocosm. Consequently, he has some interesting big-picture perspective to share with us. A warning: its not all sunshine and daffodils; his list of "areas of concern going forward" is perceptive (and none too short). Great stuff, as always, FB!
More FanPost goodness after the break...
Next up is a regular participant in this forum, Fan in Thick and Thin. In his weekly edition of "WMQB," Thick seemingly follows Foyes' lead. Yes, he looks at the Philly game, applying his usual statistical acumen ( I recommend in particular his analysis of the Eagles pass defense, which, if the Eagles can continue to get leads, doesn't bode well for the rest of the NFC East). But before acting locally, FiTT thinks globally, offering a list of things he likes about this season--and its a great list of advances that we can hang our hats on. But what got this old timer was Thick's preface:
I’m enjoying this season. I like what the Cowboy’s are doing. One of the sweetest things in sports is watching a team grow up. I don’t think the Super Bowls in the 1990’s would have been nearly as enjoyable if I hadn’t followed Dallas through their 1-15 season (and the mediocrity of the 1980’s for that matter … the whole Pelluer/Hogeboom era). For example, I imagine that I enjoyed watching the 1990’s Cowboys grow up and win Super Bowls more than Miami Heat fans would have enjoyed watching a bunch of FA’s win this year.
I couldn't agree more; I'll always remember seeing the Cowboys beat the Redskins on Thanksgiving in 1990 (one year removed from a 1-15 season), realizing that there was something special about them, and deciding right there that I was going to dedicate myself, my time, and my money to that team, because I thought they might become special. When they did, it was immensely satisfying.
This brings up an important point, one that Thick is trying to make as well, I think: that team was building; they were still two superb drafts from Super Bowl contention. I think its important to remember that this team, even with all its excellent veteran parts, is in a similar mode. I urge you to consider the list of things FiTT likes about the season, all of which have to do with getting younger (and cheaper) and the emergence of said youngsters. The title of Thick's post is "Enjoy the Journey"; I think that's great advice.
On to this week's winners. Yes, I said winners, plural. Why co-winners, for the first time in FPOTW history? Allow me to explain. First off, I think they offered two sides of the same coin. On one side, ScarletO continues his tradition of excellence by reminding us that an integral part of high-level competition is getting your backside handed to you on a platter. He's absolutely right: if you are going to compete, you are going to lose. The key, O argues, is to learn from those losses, about your competition and--more importantly--about yourself.
Apparently, that's exactly what Andy Reid and the Eagles coaching staff did during their bye week--or so says this week's other winner, the always insightful CotySaxman. In his winning FP, Coty places the lion's share of the Eagles success on their ability to self-scout during the bye week. As a result, he proposes, they game planned less for the Cowboys and more against their already established tendencies. This bye week re-invention process, Coty points out, is a major contributing factor to Philadelphia's stellar 13-0 mark the week after the bye during the Reid era. He writes that he hopes Garrett and Co.--the purveyors of process--take notice. As do I, Coty, as do I.
But this isn't entirely why Scarlet and Sax are this week's winners. No, what sealed the deal for me was reading their exchange in the comments section following Coty's post. To my mind, it was a textbook example of why BTB is the greatest sports blog on the Interwebs. ScarletO, a former Olympic-caliber athlete (exactly which sport remains a mystery) argued from an elite athlete's perspective; Coty intelligently takes a coach's position, and they proceeded to engage in a lengthy conversation that was smart, informed, passionate, generous and respectful.
For intelligent sports talk at its finest, both of you win this week's coveted Rabbie. Congrats, gents--and thanks for giving us a conversational model to which we can all aspire.